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Law - Beginning Your Research

How to do legal research.

Legal Periodicals

Locating a current law journal article on your topic can save you hours of research time. Journal articles tend to focus on narrower legal issues and the authors, usually academics and practitioners in a field, provide informed analysis of the law and references to relevant case law and legislation. Journal articles are especially useful for commentary on emerging areas of the law, and areas undergoing change.

The following indexes provide the most thorough coverage of articles published in law journals.


United States & Beyond

United Kingdom & European Union

Australia & New Zealand


Full Text Periodical Databases

While it may seem appealing to head directly to an electronic source that offers full text journal articles, it is important to keep in mind that the coverage of journals in full text databases is not as comprehensive as the coverage provided by the legal periodical indexes. In addition, full text searching tends to retrieve a larger number of irrelevant articles.

However, full text searching can be useful when you want to locate articles about a narrowly-defined topic; you have unique keywords to use; or you are searching for a known item.